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Thread: Should kids be punished for mistakes or errors of judgement?

  1. #21
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    Re: Should kids be punished for mistakes or errors of judgement?

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  2. #22
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    Re: Should kids be punished for mistakes or errors of judgement?

    I just turned my daughter and a bunch of her faceboook "friends" in to the police for selling drugs. Absolutely the hardest phone call I've ever had to make, and I was scared to death.

    We adopted my daughter when she was 17 (she's 18 now) - she was our foster daughter. I love that girl as if she was born to us - it breaks my heart I didn't get to see her grow up. Anyway, back in July she left her FB account logged in on Mom's phone, and left her latest message thread up - her and a friend planning to smoke some weed.

    Now...I smoked a LOT of weed in my day and, if I didn't have to take piss tests and polygraphs to keep my job, I probably still would. That said, I don't want my daughter self-medicating (there's another story there), especially in the crowd she surrounds herself with. I'm a protective dad with a "sixth sense." I know too much sometimes.

    So when we saw they were gonna get high, we decided to see what else was happening in her world. That's when we discovered she was getting solicited to find buyers for some of her contacts, and was obliging. I hit the ceiling. I pulled down the sentencing guidelines for our state and showed her just how easily she could get slammed for intent to distribute and a host of other things, just by her own written word. Long story short, I told her if I ever caught her doing that again I would turn her and the rest of them in. She was restricted to home for some time after that. We started random drug testing. When she got off restriction her curfew was rolled back and she must physically check in with me or mom every six hours. Figured that would get the point across.

    Sure enough, two weeks ago, she did it again. We had been monitoring her FB account since July, but had backed off just a little so I guess she thought the coast was clear. This time it was psychedelic mushrooms. I had no choice but to keep my word. I didn't speak to her for three days - not because I was mad, but because I was afraid to look in her eyes...I didn't think I would be able to go through with it.

    So my daughter sounds, I'm sure, like a delinquent. Here's the catch - she's not. She's a wonderful young lady who brings joy to everyone around her, despite having gone through hell herself. She was abused as a child in every way imaginable - spent years in the foster care system, in and out of residential treatment (for cutting) and between group homes and foster homes that couldn't handle her. Not long after she came to us, the cutting stopped. 18 months after she came to us, she went off medication with no problems. When she does wrong, she can't hide it for long - she has to get it off her chest; and she's admitted things to me I would NEVER have told my parents. She works as a server at a local restaurant and has a great work ethic. She's still a senior in high school (a year behind) and went from failing grades across the board last year to Cs and above so far this year; and works as a teacher's aid in two special needs classes at the end of the day - the kids write her notes every day and she keeps them all.

    When she came to us, the foster care system didn't tell us any diagnosis. They were so happy to find someone willing to take her for the long term, it's like they didn't want to tell us anything that would change our minds. They dropped her off and the only time we heard from them was when we called them ourselves. We knew she had some special need, mainly because my wife is the Special Ed department chair at her high school and had access to her paperwork, which only said "Other Emotional Disorder" along with ADHD.

    Well, that OED appears to be Borderline Personality Disorder, which would explain just about everything from the cutting, to the uncontrollable impulsiveness, to the emotional reaction to perceived negative feedback, etc. I'm no psychologist, but have made my living assessing human behavior for the last 20 years, and hers matches up perfectly. The problem is getting a diagnosis before her mid-20s, as they don't like to give that label to adolescents and young adults for some reason.

    So I guess the point of this long ramble is that, yeah, it depends. You have to hold kids accountable; but you also have to take into account what could be behind the behavior and work to address that as well. It's easy to say that a mistake repeated is a choice...but it's not always that cut and dry.

    Oh - and the police were very helpful. I explained the situation, gave them her background. They understood what Dad was trying to accomplish and, rather than throw a young girl who can't just say no to people she perceives as friends in jail, decided they would not prosecute her. The other people...not so lucky.

    Forgive the length - the thread struck a chord with me.

  3. #23
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    Re: Should kids be punished for mistakes or errors of judgement?

    You exercised unconditional love. Good for you! I made the same statement to my two "adopted" kids. I told them that if I ever found drugs in my home I would report it to the police. I never had to follow through because the kids showed me the respect that I gave them. They are grown and the eldest has a child of his own. He is a wonderful dad and a good husband. My daughter is married and want a child more than anything. She has had a miscarriage but survived it and is still trying. My own two kids have children of their own too and my son has given me my first great-grandson. Life is good!

  4. #24
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    Re: Should kids be punished for mistakes or errors of judgement?

    Quote Originally Posted by DragonsFriend View Post
    You exercised unconditional love. Good for you! I made the same statement to my two "adopted" kids. I told them that if I ever found drugs in my home I would report it to the police. I never had to follow through because the kids showed me the respect that I gave them. They are grown and the eldest has a child of his own. He is a wonderful dad and a good husband. My daughter is married and want a child more than anything. She has had a miscarriage but survived it and is still trying. My own two kids have children of their own too and my son has given me my first great-grandson. Life is good!
    Sorry - just getting back to this one. Hard to keep track with my memory.

    I do love her without condition. Good thing - she's so impulsive I can see why so many foster families gave up on her and sent her back to the group home. I would never do that in a million years. Even before we got custody of her there was a time we thought we wouldn't get her and I cried like I'd lost my own child. We had been a visitation resource for her, so for about a year she spent weekends, holidays, and vacations with us.

    I'm very protective of her - she was abused physically and sexually for years and I can at times go overboard with it. I see everyone as a potential predator until they prove otherwise. That said, I do trust her current boyfriend more than anyone else - male or female. He genuinely cares for her and has met my two criteria: show her kindness, and show her respect. She lived 17 hard years before we got her, and she deserves to be happy now.

    That's why it was so hard to make that call. It broke my heart to do it, but I'm thankful they saw what I was trying to do and assured me she would be ok.

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